Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams is a journalist and Middle East analyst formerly based in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. She’s now based in Sydney.

Articles by Lauren Williams (29)

  • Russian air strikes reveal bankruptcy of US policy in Syria

    Just what Syria needed – another military actor on the battlefield. After a three-week military buildup of about 30 warplanes in the northwestern coastal city of Lattakia in Syria, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's ally Russia began airstrikes in the country's central provinces late Wednesday Syrian time. Russian Government footage of Russian air strikes in Syria.
  • Is the war on ISIS coming home to Turkey?

    Monday's suicide bombing in the Turkish town of Sucuc on the Syrian border, blamed on militants from ISIS, marks a significant deterioration in Turkey's national security. While not the first attack blamed on Islamist militants inside Turkey's borders, it was the deadliest in two years, killing at least 32 people and injuring more than 100 others in the tiny border town. Syria's war has dramatically moved within Turkish borders for the first time.
  • Rumours of a Turkish invasion of northern Syria

    There is heightened speculation in Turkey about a long-debated military intervention in northern Syria, where Kurdish forces are battling militants from ISIS. Both pro- and anti-government newspapers are reporting that Turkey is mulling sending up to 18,000 ground troops into Syria. The two countries share a 500km border, where fighting has come within a stone's throw. Late Monday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey would consider 'all necessary measures' to secure its borders.
  • Who are you calling radical, radical?

    Fear of ISIS, faltering economies and resentment over rising immigration from war-torn Iraq and Syria has resulted in a surge in right-wing populism in Europe and the UK.  Here in the UK, following the departure of three sisters with their nine children to join ISIS, and the emergence of the first British suicide bomber in Iraq, newly re-elected conservative Prime Minister David Cameron stirred controversy when, in an address to a security conference in Slovakia and coinciding with the beginning
  • Why Palmyra matters for ISIS

    ISIS fighters are one step closer to realising their prophecy, with two major conquests in a week: the strategic centres of Ramadi in Iraq's west and Palmyra in Syria's centre. The sudden advance of ISIS militants in Palmyra saw the army there quickly routed and international concern for the safety of the precious Roman ruins mounted. The militants have previously destroyed sites in Iraq's Mosul and Tikrit they believe to be heretical.
  • Iraq's brutal sectarianism set to worsen

    Once again in the Middle East, short term gains are trumping long term interests. As the ink dries on the Iran nuclear deal, the bodies are piling up in neighbouring Iraq. Many of them are the bodies of Sunni civilians, killed by Shiite militias backed by Iran and allied to the Iraqi Government in the battle against ISIS. Kurdish forces training with the US, 2011. (Flickr/US Forces in Iraq.) Reports of reprisal attacks against Sunnis by Shiite militias are mounting.
  • Awkward contradictions in Australian foreign-fighter laws

    One of the stranger stories to come out of Syria lately was the case of Northern Territory Labor Party president Matthew Gardiner's disappearance to Syria to fight against ISIS. Mr Gardiner upped and left his wife and family to join the ranks of the Kurdish YPG. Only two weeks later, another Australian, Ashley Johnston, became the first foreigner reportedly killed fighting ISIS, also with YPG. The Syria conflict has made for some awkward alliances and strange bedfellows.